Australian Credit Card and Debit Card Statistics 2016

Australian statistics on: debt, fraud, national and individual card-holder insights, research and reports

There are over 16 million credit cards in Australia, netting a national debt accruing interest of around $32 billion. For many Australians, managing credit and debt through credit cards is a common element of their day-to-day money habits, while for others a few bad mistakes have lead to a downward debt spiral. But what does the state of Australia’s credit card debt actually look like?

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Credit Card statistics infographic

Credit card averages

While traditionally perceived as being a luxurious item reserved for the well-off, the reality is that the average credit card actually has a balance of over $3,000, with two-thirds of that balance accruing interest. When extrapolated out to over 16 million credit cards in circulation, Australia’s hunger for credit becomes more prominent. Here’s a profile of the average credit card holder:

Debit card averages

The good news here is that Australians are a lot more comfortable spending their own money than credit they will later need to repay; while there are over 16 million credit cards in Australia, there’s a whopping 41 million debit cards, which also have more than double the number of purchases per month. For all the woeful debt stories, it turns out Australians are more comfortable spending within their means.

Historical data:

Sure, Australia’s financial history has a bit of bad blood in it – nobody came out of the GFC unscathed. But how exactly have some of our key credit card statistics changed over time?

Average credit card balance, limit and number of purchases

This table displays national credit card statistics averaged annually.
(Please note that the average of the current year only includes data up to the month stated)

YearAccountsPurchasesPurchases ValueBalances Accruing InterestTotal Balances
1995   6,746,697   18,572,376$1,504,775,333$5,902,531,500N/A
1996   7,171,681   21,327,211$1,716,478,250$6,970,112,000N/A
1997   7,661,050   25,544,859$2,006,558,167$7,933,909,917N/A
1998   8,107,751   33,230,275$2,480,210,750$9,301,922,198N/A
1999   8,561,463   43,775,831$3,289,235,796$11,188,984,583N/A
2000   9,186,426   54,160,188$4,427,400,750$13,825,125,833N/A
2001   9,599,600   63,262,374$5,704,497,083$16,562,522,490N/A
2002 10,282,275   78,980,602$6,926,303,489$15,654,964,615$21,632,476,879
2003 10,575,967   85,944,716$9,722,033,157$17,459,831,412$24,460,963,830
2004 11,252,849   94,031,940$10,870,024,403$19,584,814,661$27,691,093,053
2005 12,024,453   99,171,723$12,235,065,131$22,417,391,623$31,464,241,650
2006 12,936,118 106,077,623$13,172,441,716$26,205,709,409$36,343,226,964
2007 13,587,881 112,699,505$14,488,224,374$29,260,322,734$40,602,096,354
2008 14,009,657 118,291,550$16,020,173,355$31,459,592,322$43,674,616,532
2009 14,325,362 123,397,918$17,271,752,680$32,591,404,701$44,934,444,304
2010 14,642,249 131,079,776$17,860,701,479$34,814,324,464$47,666,028,188
2011 14,892,280 138,540,312$19,030,143,061$36,180,712,025$49,155,184,501
2012 15,076,723 147,966,067$19,959,970,338$36,235,249,589$49,765,586,487
2013 15,381,723 159,731,196$20,897,695,673$34,500,802,152$49,546,355,130
2014 15,580,233 172,684,963$21,873,628,623$33,352,878,864$50,101,907,023
2015 16,080,937 188,522,014$24,425,285,429$32,144,245,289$50,992,916,919

For more statistics and research please contact:

Graham Cooke
Graham Cooke
Insights Manager
M: +61 4 5879 5746
P: +61 2 9299 7602
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6 Responses to Australian Credit Card and Debit Card Statistics 2016

  1. Default Gravatar
    Hamish | May 18, 2015

    How many consumer credit card applications are made a year?

    • Staff
      Jonathan | May 18, 2015

      Hi Hamish, thanks for your inquiry!

      Please note that is a comparison service, it may be best to check with official statistical agencies such as the Australian Bureau of Statistics for this inquiry.



  2. Default Gravatar
    Greg | March 20, 2015

    How much does the average australian spend, a month, on debit card transactions.
    I have found the statistics for credit card but not for debit card transactions.

    Thank you

    • Staff
      Jonathan | March 20, 2015

      Hi Greg, thanks for your inquiry!

      Unfortunately the household debt report by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) does not include the average amount for debit card transactions. It would be best to contact the ABS directly for more information/statistics on this measure.



  3. Default Gravatar
    Lee | March 25, 2013

    How many 18-25 year-old Australians have a credit card?

    • Staff
      Jacob | March 25, 2013

      Hi Lee. Sorry, these statistics are not available to us. Try the Reserve Bank of Australia. They publish credit card and charge card statistics.

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